Inviting Help into Your Life

Showing the way

“I do believe in an everyday sort of magic — the inexplicable connectedness we sometimes experience with places, people, works of art and the like; the eerie appropriateness of moments of synchronicity; the whispered voice, the hidden presence, when we think we’re alone.”
~ Charles de Lint

 

Divine Guidance.  Signs. Help.  Answers to prayers.  Last-minute reprieves. Dramatic turn-arounds. Miracles. Most of us have asked for them at one time or another, but are we actually heard?  Can we really reach out like that and expect things to change?

I believe that the answer is yes. But it is useful to understand the process.  Our job is not only to ask. (I’ve written about that process here: Asking for a Sign) Our job is also to be receptive to answers, no matter what they look like, or how they come to us. Our job is to ACT on those answers and synchronicities. Our job is to know that we need to trust in Divine Timing. Especially when what’s happening in our lives is not going to OUR timing – the timing we want for ourselves and our plans and dreams.

Let me explain…

Back in November 2012,I stood on a moonlit beach in Thailand thinking of a particular set of circumstances in my life. My beloved Nana had just died, and I would not make it home for her funeral. And earlier that day, when I still suffered from congestive heart failure, I’d been crippled with severe chest pain. The pain had gone, but it had left me frightened and bemused. Once again I’d hit a wall with my health, and no matter what I’d tried (and the list was exhaustive) nothing was working. I realised I had reached my limit. No matter what I did, I was dragging myself through life, not enjoying it at all, but trying my best. For my husband. For my friends. For my clients. Every day was a struggle. And every day I was getting worse. Again.

I missed my Nana. I felt like more of my cheer squad was now in heaven than down here on earth.

My deteriorating health was impacting my marriage, my work, my very ability to draw breath. I knew in my heart I couldn’t go on like this. I didn’t have it in me any more. I’d found the end of the line. I stood there on that beach, oblivious to the beauty, with tears streaming down my face and I said, “Do you know what, God? I just can’t do this anymore. I’m done.”

I was ready to go home.

Image by Richard James

Image by Richard James

I meant it.  I said what was in my heart.  There was no neediness. No wanting or hoping. So it wasn’t really a prayer, or even a request for help.  I just said it how it was.  A definitive statement without expectation. I was squared away with dying. In fact, I fully expected that death was where I was heading. I was okay with that, sad as I would be to leave my husband. I was so very tired. I had no fight left in the tank. I really was done. I turned on my heel, went back to our room, and then forgot all about this seemingly one-sided conversation in the days ahead.

Less than a week later, I bumped into a friend in Bangkok who told me that she’d been having thyroid problems.  She mentioned that it could sometimes cause chest pain.

We talked some more…

Oh, she said. You need desiccated pig thyroid, not that other stuff you’re on. There aren’t too many doctors back in Australia who prescribe it, but there’s one in Brisbane. And she gave me his name.

A few days later I was back in Brisbane, and I called that number. By some miracle I ended up with an immediate appointment with a doctor who usually took a year to see. In fact, I’d tried to see him three times during the past ten years and been unable to get an appointment at all. But he was in his office, it was a Friday afternoon, his secretary had gone home with the flu, and he’d just had his last appointment of the day cancel. Could I come in straight away?

I could, and I did.

Before I saw him I had to fill in a very long and exacting health history. Standard procedure for doctors who think outside the square.

I wrote it all down. All thirty years of it. Something I hadn’t bothered to do for a long time.

He called my name and I went into his office.

I looked around at the pictures and the box of toys on the floor while he read my history. It took a very long time.

Finally, he looked up.

“This is textbook Lyme Disease,” he said. “Ever been tested for it?”

I’d never even heard of it.

He gave me forms so I could send off some blood samples, and that was the day I began to get my life back.

He was right. I did have Lyme Disease. I told my sister. She stumbled upon some information concerning another doctor who was about to open a new clinic, specifically treating this illness. I was one of the first patients to be seen.

These two physicians changed the course of my trajectory forever.

Now I am healing.

One day I fully expect to be well, whatever that may look like.

Why am I telling you this?

Because I know that somewhere, right now, someone is reading this who needs to know that they are not alone. That our thoughts and prayers are heard. That answers sometimes come from left field, and in manners that we could never have imagined.

Sometimes we need to ask for help. Sometimes we need to surrender.

And it usually doesn’t happen in the timing we’d hoped for.

But…

…wherever you are at, know that miracles are possible.

Change is possible.

Help is possible.

Healing is possible.

And you are worthy of all these things.

Sending you much love, and holding a candle for you in my heart, Nicole xx

Image from Vastu Chai

Image from Vastu Chai

Wrong Numbers and New Friends

Image from www.Radio2.nl

Image from www.Radio2.nl

“Sometimes wrong numbers are the right numbers.” ~ Cecelia Ahern, The Time of My Life

 

Late yesterday afternoon I tried to call my sister. My new drugs are kicking in and so my eyes were all twitchy and I was having problems seeing. Somehow I put in one wrong digit.

“Hello?” An older woman’s voice, surprised, answered the phone.

“Mum?” I said. I’d been expecting Simone. What was Mum doing there? Was it even Mum? It had to be Mum… Trying to place the voice against the background noise of a blaring television I tried again. “Hello? Mum, is that you? Can you hear me? It’s Nicole. “

There was a pause, and then the woman spoke again. “That’s a beautiful name, darling. Nicole did you say? That’s French isn’t it?”

By now I had worked out that this definitely wasn’t my mum on the other end of the line, but something made me keep talking.

“Yes,” I said.

“Well, you can call me Mum, sweetheart,” the old lady said. “I’d like that very much.” She asked where I was calling from, and I explained that I was here in Brisbane for a few days but that I normally lived on a farm.

Well, ‘Mum’ was away! Telling me all about her days growing up on a farm on the outskirts of Toowoomba, and then later the animals she kept at her little house in Brisbane after she married and when her children were growing up. She’d had ducks and chickens and a lovely big vegetable garden, right here at Mount Gravatt. Of course as she’d gotten older she’d had to let all that go…

Photo by Erika Stardig

Photo by Erika Stardig

“Ducks,” I said. “Good eggs, duck eggs. Great for cooking.”

“Oh, do you like to cook?” she asked.

We chatted for a few more minutes, and she told me about her son who had gone off to fight in Vietnam and who came home and tore the chook shed down after his father’s home brew kit, kept in a lean-to beside the shed, had exploded one hot summer’s night and scared the life out of them all.

Eventually I excused myself and hung up so that I could call my sister.

Just before I went to bed last night my phone rang. It was still early so I answered it, thinking the number was my sister’s.

“Hello, Nicky,” the voice said, “it’s Mum again. I have my own Mum’s recipe here for Duck Egg Sponge. I knew I had it somewhere, and I thought you’d like to have it. She cleaned up at the Show every year with that sponge. You can probably get duck eggs down at your farm so maybe you could give it a go.”

I carefully wrote down the ingredients and instructions.

Image from Dann Good Cake

Image from Dann Good Cake

“Are you okay, love?” she asked as I began coughing violently – a side effect of the evening’s drugs.

I waited for a wave of nausea to pass and then briefly explained that I was unwell and starting on new medications which made me feel sick.

“How about I call you in a day or so?” Mum asked. “Just to see how you’re getting along. Would that be okay? You know I’ll worry about you if I don’t. And don’t you go making that sponge cake yet. You should really be having a shower and hopping into bed. Go on then, off you go. Sleep well, Nicky love. And I’ll ask Saint Peregrine to watch over you. And Raphael too. He’s my favourite Angel. I’m a lapsed Catholic dear, but I’m still very fond of some of their Saints and Angels.”

I just love the synchronicities and everyday miracles of this life, don’t you?

We are, all of us, so very much loved, and connected in magical ways we’ll never quite understand while we’re down here living out our days.

Image from Epoch Times

Image from Epoch Times

Unexpected Blessings

Original image source unknown

Original image source unknown

“Women are never so strong as after their defeat.” 
~ Alexandre Dumas

I admit it. Yesterday, for a moment (or perhaps a little longer) I wondered how I would pick myself up and keep going.

I cried.

A lot.

My doctor wants me to continue with another full course of the horror drugs which had me counting the days and hours til I was done with them.

Six more weeks.

And this shall then be followed by more drugs which I’d previously not got on well with, in different combination.

Oh. My. Goodness.

So – drugs. I needed to buy more drugs. Yesterday, after my doctor’s appointment, Ben dropped me out the front of a shopping mall because it was crowded and he needed to park the car a great distance away. I am not up to walking far right now, and my progress is a snail’s pace. I wasn’t even half way to my destination – the pharmacy – when he had caught me up. I cried a little when he did. He had already been to the pharmacy and was doubling back to look for me. “God, you worry me,” he said, his face so sad and filled with compassion. He took my arm and steered me on my way.

After we’d dropped in my fistful of scripts and bought some supplies for our few days in Brisbane we headed back outside, where Ben left me in the shade of the front entrance while he went to fetch the car.

I felt fragile; so tired and weak, as I wondered how I was going to do this thing.

And then, out of nowhere I was enveloped in the biggest of hugs. A client, who is also a dear friend, had spied me as she sat in a cafe. Behind her other friends and her partner followed, all of them with hugs and kind words.

Their love lifted me up.

Image from Travelling Yogi

Image from Travelling Yogi

At home I changed into my pyjamas, ready to lie down and rest. As I took off a bracelet and placed it in a bag, something fell out at my feet. A little medallion.

I picked it up and turned it over in my hands. And began to laugh.

A few days ago I was talking to my sister about our family tree. ‘Did you know we have a Saint in the family?’ she asked. Of course, I didn’t. As we talked I googled her: Saint Margaret, the Patron Saint of Scotland. ‘You can get her prayer card,’ Simone said. ‘But I don’t know if she has a medal…’

Not being Catholic neither of us knew much about this whole Saint thing at all.

We both then agreed that it would be handy to have a Patron Saint. I googled Patron Saints for the rest of that afternoon, quickly becoming overwhelmed, and finding no-one that really jumped out at me.

The medallion that fell out at my feet?

My Saint Peregine medal

My Saint Peregrine medal

I found it on the ground outside a pie shop in a little town called Childers about four years ago. It was worn and grubby, and I had no idea what it was, but I slipped it in my pocket and brought it home, where it’s lain forgotten ever since.

It’s actually a Saint Peregrine Medal. Saint Peregrine is the Patron Saint of serious illness, cancer, AIDS and so on.

I said a little prayer, and I’ve placed that battered medal on a chain around my neck. It seemed like the right thing to do. It makes me feel that somehow, everything will turn out just fine.

So, out of a difficult day I received more Blessings than I’d ever expected. Isn’t life the most wonderful adventure?

Image from Hatke Quotes

Image from Hatke Quotes

Crying in car parks

“Let your tears come.  Let them water your soul.”  ~ Eileen Mayhew

Over the last twenty-five years I’ve done my share of crying in car parks.  Not just any car parks.  I do have my standards. The car parks I shed tears in have always had a theme.  I’ve cried in hospital car parks, pathology car parks, specialist medical centre car parks, diagnostic imaging car parks and in the stark impersonality of inner city parking garages close to where my doctors’ rooms might be.

I’m always careful to make it all the way back to my car, and be safely alone inside, doors closed and windows up, before I start to cry.  Sometimes I’ve barely made it, but I am proud to say I’ve never yet lost it in a doctor’s office.

Why all the tears?

I’ve had twenty five years of illness, countless different diagnoses, all of them bad, or worse – indifferent. And almost always, I’ve been told there was little that could be done.

It actually got to the point where I stopped trying to get to the bottom of whatever the problem was, because it always seemed there was something new going wrong. Embarrassing to explain to others.  Melodramatic.  I even began to question whether it was all in my head.

It didn’t help that many people, doctors included, didn’t take me seriously. I became intensely wary of discussing my health, and eventually I ignored most of my problems, or found ways to manage, minimise, hide or work around them.  In fact, I had to be nearly crippled from the pain of a heart attack before I even took serious notice the last time something major went wrong. Any normal person would have done something hours before.  But me, I was waiting for it to pass, evaluating it against previous pains and issues, hating to draw attention to myself or to inconvenience anyone. Wondering if it really was as bad as it felt. It wasn’t.  It was worse. And months later I had another one that only showed up in blood tests afterwards. Still I talked it down, shrugged it away, notched it up on the board with all the other health dramas and then went back to living.

There have been hospitals since then.  And doctors. And lots of other helpful healers of all descriptions. Just as there have been for over two decades. But that’s a story best left for another day.

I have become a master of gratitude and making much of the little things that give life texture and meaning.  As my life has shrunk smaller and smaller, I have let the detail become richer so I didn’t feel like I was missing out.  I have found clever ways to cope, to make the best of things, and to not dwell on all that has slowly eroded from my life. I’ve also clawed my way back from the abyss countless times. For that I am proud. No matter what has happened, I have not yet been defeated. I’ve always found a way to stagger back to my feet and keep going.

I tell myself things are great. And I can’t complain about my life.  There is so much good here, such a rich canvas of blessings. But always, at the back of my mind, is this terrifying understanding that there is something seriously wrong, and that over time things are getting slowly worse, rather than slowly better.

Today I sat in yet another city car park and I cried. This time I cried for a whole new reason. These were tears of relief.  Tears of exhausted, soul-weary gratitude.  Today I got a diagnosis.

Today, for the first time in a very long time, I felt validated. And I felt the smallest flicker of hope.

So tonight I shall pack my bags and my husband will drive me home to our farm. Tomorrow I will sit in the sunshine and sip tea while I contemplate my future. I do intend to have one, and tonight it actually looks possible.

When I’m ready I’ll share it all with you, but for now, just let me draw breathe.

Thanks for listening.  Nicole ♥ xx